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Arizona educators file injunction to block state's ban on masks, vaccine mandates in schools

The injunction intends to speed up a judge's ruling on a lawsuit filed against the state before Arizona's ban on mask and vaccine mandates goes into effect.
Credit: 12 News
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PHOENIX — Arizona educators who have already filed a lawsuit against the state for implementing a ban on mandating masks and vaccinations in schools, have now filed an injunction to push the court to quickly resolve their legal dispute. 

A coalition of Arizona school entities filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on Tuesday with the goal of getting a ruling on the lawsuit as soon as possible, before the state's new anti-mandate law goes into effect on Sept. 29.

The lawsuit argues that the mask-mandate ban pushed by Gov. Doug Ducey undermines the rights of school children in the state and was passed illegally.

RELATED: Arizona schools suing state government over classroom mask mandate ban

The union group, United Campus Workers of Arizona, announced their full support of the lawsuit in a news release Tuesday, saying the provisions in the laws banning mask and vaccine mandates will do serious and irreparable harm to its members.

"If this legislation is permitted to stand, I, along with the membership of UCWAZ, the other faculty and staff at our universities, our students, as well as our families, and the larger communities where we work and live, will be exposed to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19," said UCWAZ member Laurie Stoff in a news release. "Many will be at risk of serious illness or death."

The injunction argues that the laws prohibiting mask and vaccination mandates in public schools and universities are unconstitutional because they violate certain requirements of the Arizona Constitution, such as ensuring the title of a bill clearly indicates its content and the equal protection rights of public school students. 

The Arizona School Boards Association, the Children's Action Alliance, the Arizona Education Association, the Arizona Advocacy Network, and 12 individual Arizona residents are named as the plaintiffs in court paperwork of the original lawsuit. 

On Aug. 16, a Maricopa County judge ruled that Phoenix Union High School District's mask mandate could stay in effect at least until Sept. 29 after a teacher sued the district for imposing a mask mandate on students and teachers.

RELATED: Ducey offering $163 million in funding to schools following state laws, allowing in-person classes

Ducey has called school mask mandates a form of "discrimination" even though he and outgoing Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ recommended - but not required - masks be worn indoors.

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